Vice President Mike Pence laid out an initial four-step plan to begin the process of establishing a United States Space Force by 2020 today at a press briefing at the Pentagon.
“The time has come,” he said. “Space is one of our vital interests … and it is becoming a contested domain … It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space.”
Pence said in a new Defense Department report to be released today, the administration will call for the establishment of a new unified combatant command, U.S. Space Command, led by a four-star flag officer, the creation of a Space Operations Force, a new Space Development Agency to develop cutting-edge space technology, and lastly, a call for Congressional approval for the creation of a Department of the Space Force.
“The report the DoD will release today … represents a critical step toward establishing the Space Force,” Pence said.
It is a step toward the creation of the Space Force as a sixth branch “separate from and equal to” the others, including having its own chain of command (from a Secretary of the Space Force) and its own uniform.
However, the proposal is controversial to some who others, like Paul Scharre, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, who called a Space Force “a dumb idea,” suggesting that a new structure would only add bureaucracy to the detriment of the space mission.
Pence acknowledged establishing the Space Force is “not a simple process” and said they will create a “single civilian position reporting to Secretary of Defense [Mattis] to oversee” the creation.
“This is the moment,” he said. “Now is the time.”